Rare Bird Alert!

Truth be told, I had never even heard of a Tropical Kingbird. But when I was able to get my binoculars on the bird with a flash of yellow, near the Hudson River, I did know that this bird was something special.

I was able to see a Western Kingbird last year, a similar “flycatcher” with a yellow belly. It’s a very rare bird for our area and that was my first thought.

I’m told that this Tropical Kingbird, seen in Dobbs Ferry, became the 501st species of birds documented as seen in New York State.

I quickly shared photos with my very knowledgeable birding friend Julien Amsellem who then raced to the river. He was not only able to see the bird but was able to get a sound recording – a key component to identifying it. “I think it’s a Tropical Kingbird!” he said. (One exclamation point doesn’t really capture the enthusiasm in his voice). “Is that rare?” I asked. “It’s the first time one has been seen in the state of New York!”

Well, word spreads very quickly among birders these days and pretty much every serious birder and ornithologist in the area arrived the next day to see this “mega-rarity.” There were about 100 people here despite a morning rain. Fortunately our bird stuck around.

Some of the birders who, with their binoculars, watched the Tropical Kingbird as it moved among the branches of a large tree in our neighborhood.

Each birder was kind and respectful to each other and everyone wore a mask. Many seemed so grateful to have seen such a great bird to add to their “life lists.” All of us share a love of nature and a love of birds and we all shared our joy at getting the chance to see such a beautiful rarity.

We were able to get a particularly close look at the Kingbird when it landed on a nearby fence.

Appreciative birders expressed their gratitude. “Thanks for the great find!” many said. Of course the bird should get all the credit. What a journey it must be on. And what a gift it was to have it land in our world.

“Nature can help us get close to each other as we realize that others love the natural environment as much as we do. It can also remind us that we’re all part of something bigger than us. This is the role we take on as nature stewards: to protect and respect the world around us, including all of its inhabitants.” – Martin Summer (Connecting With Life – Finding Nature in an Urban World)

4 thoughts on “Rare Bird Alert!

  1. Fun to see and read, Tom! Shared further on Saw Mill River Audubon’s Facebook page. Thanks so much for your generosity in sharing this sighting with others. You were an excellent Rare Bird Host. : )

    1. Anne, This was so much fun for me and having you there made it even better. I’m thrilled that you added a link to the Saw Mill Audubon’s web site too. Thank you!

  2. Hi Tom,

    Congratulations! Such a lovely bird – such beautiful colors – complex greys and a fabulous shade of yellow. What a thrill. What a joy. Amazing story. So happy that you pursued your hunch about seeing a Tropical Kingbird. How wonderful that birders could come and share the joy. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with all of us. 🍀

    Sent from my iPhone


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